Saban: There's 'no real timeline' for Tua's return

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban said on Monday that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had successful surgery on his ankle and will participate in only non-weight bearing activity for several days before beginning traditional rehab.

Tagovailoa suffered a high-ankle sprain during this past Saturday’s win over Tennessee and had surgery the following morning. In a statement following the surgery, Saban said Tagovailoa would be out for a week, but on Monday he told reporters how there’s “no real timeline for his return.”

“But the expectation is he will be non-weight bearing for several days and then he’ll be able to come back as his rehab allows him,” Saban said. “We’re hopeful that in a 10-day period, he’ll be back being able to do active-type rehab, and we’ll see how it goes from there. But these things are pretty unpredictable at this point.”

Tagovailoa had the same “tightrope” surgery on his other ankle last season and missed four weeks of practice in the time between the SEC Championship Game and the first round of the College Football Playoff.

With Arkansas coming to Tuscaloosa on Saturday followed the bye week, he’ll have three weeks to recover before No. 1 Alabama hosts No. 2 LSU on Nov. 9.

Backup and third-year sophomore Mac Jones came off the bench for Tagovailoa against Tennessee, throwing for 72 yards and no touchdowns, and is expected to make his first career start against Arkansas.

Saban said it was a difficult situation for Jones to step into but, “All In all, I thought he handled the situation really well.”

“I think with Mac it’s not a matter of arm talent or ability, it’s staying focused and being able to execute on a consistent basis and make good choices and decisions and not think about it too much and just take what the defense gives,” Saban said. “When he’s done that he’s been very, very effective and that’s what we’ve worked with him on throughout the season. And for the most part he’s done a pretty good job of that.”

Tagovailoa’s younger brother, true freshman Taulia, will be Jones’ backup and is an “option” to play against Arkansas, Saban said.

“He’s got a lot of talent,” Saban said of Taulia, who has attempted just one pass this season. “We’ve tried to get him some reps throughout the course of the year in case this happened. So it’s going to be really important that we do a good job of progressing him this week as well.”

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